Tube Matching/Rolling

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Tube Matching/Rolling

Postby leo » Thu Jun 12, 2008 12:51 pm

When I started with tube amplification, I was caught up with sourcing out pre-amp tubes for their different characteristics. This was then followed by trying out different power tubes, which I experienced and learned could also have a significant effect on the music presentation. Eventually, I started to mix and combine different power tubes and pre-amp tubes on my integrated amp in order to find the best combination or combinations that I liked.

Althought the Mastersound Due Venti S.E. only uses 4 x EL34s and 2 x 12au7s, I was actually suprised at the different possibilites of combinations and of course the different characteristics of sound that can be produced by this lowly integrated amp. :)

In this exercise, I found out the best combination for me:

1. RCA 12au7 + Matsushita 6CA7.
2. Raytheon 12au7 Black Plates + Mullard (re-issue) EL34.
3. RCA 12au7 + Siemens EL34.
4. Valvo ECC82 + Matsushita 6CA7.
5. Tungsol 12au7 + Svetlana Winged-C EL34.
6. Siemens ECC82 + Siemens EL34.
7. Brimar CV4003 + Siemens EL34

There are more tubes in stock, but I found these combos much to my liking.

Others who have more tubes in their system would probably have more fun in this.

Cheers.
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Postby rtsyrtsy » Thu Jun 12, 2008 2:33 pm

My CJ PV-11 loves Mullard 12AU7s.

RCA Cleartop was interesting--pang audiophile, must-hear-everything mood.

In between the romantic Mullards and the revealing Cleartops are Sylvanias.
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Postby Superman » Thu Jun 12, 2008 2:47 pm

For my CJ PV-10:
1] RCA Cleartops 12AU7 - Excellent for Vocals
2] RCA Blackplates Triple Mica 12AU7
3] Brimar 12AU7 -
4] Valvo 12AU7
Last edited by Superman on Thu Jun 12, 2008 2:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby TheAnalogSource » Thu Jun 12, 2008 2:49 pm

baka pwede... can we have what characteristics you experienced with the different combinations.

Thanks in Advance :D
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Postby leo » Thu Jun 12, 2008 3:25 pm

halls wrote:baka pwede... can we have what characteristics you experienced with the different combinations.

Thanks in Advance :D


Sure thing. By the way, the RCA 12au7 in referring to here are the Cleartops.

1. RCA 12au7 + Matsushita 6CA7. = 12au7 Cleartops have very sweet mids and highs, and in combination with the Matsus EL34, I get the warm body sound together with it.

2. Raytheon 12au7 Black Plates + Mullard (re-issue) EL34. = Raytheon 12au7 slam! I really get the heavy bass slam from these peanut tubes, much like their Windmill getter cousings. The Mullard EL34 provides some top sparkle or that extra lifelike feel of cymbals.

3. RCA 12au7 + Siemens EL34. = Once more the 12au7 Cleartops provide the sweet mids and highs, and the Siemens EL34 adds the tight and well articulated bass.

4. Valvo ECC82 + Matsushita 6CA7. = Valvo ECC82 are very open sounding tubes. They have a tendecy to be bright and uncomfortable to listen to. However, these tubes, in my experience, provide a good solid slam as well. Combining them with Matsus 6CA7 somehow tames the sometimes overwhelming brightness.

5. Tungsol 12au7 + Svetlana Winged-C EL34. = Tungsol 12au7 in my exprience are quite balanced and very good resolution. You hear music playing evenly without over-emphasis on one particular instrument. The Winged-C are open and sweet sounding EL34s. They provide the wonderfull and open soundstage for the performance.

6. Siemens ECC82 + Siemens EL34. = Siemens ECC82, well what can I say, but these are the most natural sounding 12au7 tubes I've heard. Pianos sound real, cymbals sound real, and vocals are scary realy. Combining them with the solid bottom end and detailed performance of the Siemens EL34s, WOW! Ang galing talaga!

7. Brimar CV4003 + Siemens EL34 = Brimars have very good lush vocal presenation in my case. However I find the Cleartops better in vocals. I do not find Brimar CV4003 good for instruments as the details are not very good. Nevertheless, I just find them better sounding when combined with the Siemens EL34s.
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Postby TheAnalogSource » Thu Jun 12, 2008 3:28 pm

thanks leo... very comprehensive... a good guide for those of us who are clueless with tubes :D

anybody who has experienced in a variety of 6922-6550 combi...please post your observations. thanks
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Postby romymartinez » Thu Jun 12, 2008 3:47 pm

Newbie question, hopefully not very OT:

Which tubes will have greater influence on the resulting sound character of the tube gear, preamp tubes or power tubes? Thanks.

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Postby rtsyrtsy » Thu Jun 12, 2008 3:58 pm

No straight, simple answer to this one, unfortunately.

In my experience, switching both input and power tubes were effective in bringing about differences...note, differences, not necessarily improvements.

Swtching from GE 6550 (stock on CJ) to Svet brings more lambing, control of both top and bottom end. I'm dying to try Tung-sol's kahit re-issue lang pero nagiipon ako for SET eh. :D
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Postby leo » Thu Jun 12, 2008 4:06 pm

romymartinez wrote:Newbie question, hopefully not very OT:

Which tubes will have greater influence on the resulting sound character of the tube gear, preamp tubes or power tubes? Thanks.

romymartinez


I don't thingk there is no particular set of tubes (pre-amp tubes, power tubes, etc.) that may be able to bring out the greatest difference.

I would have to say changing anyone of them will yield differences in the presentation or character of the sound.
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Postby vintage_dog » Thu Jun 12, 2008 5:17 pm

romymartinez wrote:Newbie question, hopefully not very OT:

Which tubes will have greater influence on the resulting sound character of the tube gear, preamp tubes or power tubes? Thanks.

romymartinez


my own personal experience with a variety of tube amps is that the pre-amp tubes seem to have the bigger influence on the character of the sound than the power tubes. i usually do not tube-roll amp tubes. i stick to a couple of favorite amp tube brands and tube-roll the driver and pre-amp tubes.
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Postby ESaudio » Thu Jun 12, 2008 6:02 pm

romymartinez wrote:Newbie question, hopefully not very OT:

Which tubes will have greater influence on the resulting sound character of the tube gear, preamp tubes or power tubes? Thanks.

romymartinez


Preamp tubes play a big factor in the performance of power tubes. I tuberoll much on the preamp tubes. The driver tube also makes a big difference. But once you find the right driver tube for your amp, it will more or less stay there permanently and just tuberoll on the preamp or input tubes.
Last edited by ESaudio on Thu Jun 12, 2008 6:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby rtsyrtsy » Thu Jun 12, 2008 6:48 pm

vintage_dog wrote:i usually do not tube-roll amp tubes. i stick to a couple of favorite amp tube brands and tube-roll the driver and pre-amp tubes.


Tube rolling driver tubes is also cheaper than power tubes. :D
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Postby lovejbl » Thu Jun 12, 2008 7:44 pm

My best trials on tube rolling was using 7193s on pre-amp with combination of amplification using single ended 12ax7s and kt-88s.
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Postby jadis » Thu Jun 12, 2008 7:58 pm

in my own personal experience, i also found out tube rolling in pre-amps, phono stages and input tubes of tube amps to have more noticeable effect than power tubes of power amps. i have compared 2 brands of 6550s, and into one brand of kt88s and i must say the differences are not that dramatic than rolling 'peanut' line and input tubes.

that said, it is my personal belief too that a particular brand of input tube, should match our ears aside from matching the brands of tube electronics. again, this is just my own findings in my own sets of tube components used over the decades. for example, mullard tubes may not match well with cj pre's bec both possess the lush, thick and body-ful sound. but, if the cables are siltech, for example, then the matching might actually be ok as siltech generally gives a very detailed, fast, and 'lean' sound. in the end, it will be the sum of the whole that matters. in my earlier years, i have gotten to like the tele's for its 'neutral' sound quality. excellent throw-back deep soundstage and very quiet background. mullard short plates are lush to smooth, kinda euphonic and maybe a little 'ma-arte' in the midband, but a very musical tube nonetheless. enter the mullard long plates vintage late 50s with o-bar or square getter and i have reached the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. :D glorious mids, even more lush and more musical than the short plates, possessing quiet mids, defined highs, and tight bass. they're just hard to find in strong conditions, but when they are found, you will not be lost, you would have found the musical holy grail. :lol:

for the record, i have heard mullards on ARC SP3, ARC PH3, ARC D79, Jadis JPL and JPS2, Jadis JA 200, and even on LAMM 1.1 power amp (6922/2492 military grade), and all work well, giving out the typical 'mullard sound'.
Last edited by jadis on Thu Jun 12, 2008 9:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby JackD201 » Thu Jun 12, 2008 8:33 pm

I agree with VD and Jadis. Pre - driver - power in order of diminishing returns except with SETs where the type of power tube used is crucial. Maybe because the circuits are so simple.
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Postby zenaudio » Thu Jun 12, 2008 8:41 pm

For CJ MV55

12ax7 - tungsols new production
6sn7 - tungsols NOS
el34 - svetlana

this combination gave me the right balance between sweetness and dynamics.

I also tried raytheon 6sn7s which gave really good layering but sometimes a little too dark for me.

IMO the little 12ax7's gave the most effect; new production tungsols are quite good in this application, particularly in providing soundstaging.
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Postby hypertriode » Thu Jun 12, 2008 9:03 pm

romymartinez wrote:Newbie question, hopefully not very OT:

Which tubes will have greater influence on the resulting sound character of the tube gear, preamp tubes or power tubes? Thanks.

romymartinez


IME, the preamp tubes (starting with the input tubes) bear a great influence on what the resulting sound of the system will be. Get it right at the start of the chain, otherwise it's downhill onwards :( I usually start with OK-sounding tubes (usually neutral-sounding Russians), roll the input tubes of the preamp first and tailor the sound to my liking (dynamics and musicality are first on my list) and proceed upwards the chain. Input tubes on the power amp play an important part as well, i find little variance rolling the driver tubes. Once you achieve dynamics and musicality, soundstaging, layering, detail retrieval, etc. follows... my 2 cents :)
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Postby ambel » Fri Jun 13, 2008 1:22 pm

The reason is they are signal voltage amplifiers wheareas the the power tube's concern is driving the speakers it deals with waatage power. That's why changing a pre amp tube is more noticeable than that of the power tube. The problem lies with the mainstream audio manufactutere they stick with signal receiving tube that were mainly used for consumer audio. Except for the small manufacturers. For me i find the 12AX7, 12AU7, 6DJ8 etc to be wimps. The finest tubes were made for the industrial and military sector. one fine example of this is tube that belongs to the 5687 family is the Bendix Red Bank 6900 construction wise and sonics are superb. But then of course is the finest tube maker of them all WESTERN ELECTRIC from signal, power, and transmitting tubes they have no equal.
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Postby leo » Tue Jun 24, 2008 4:10 pm

I found out that the Valvo ECC82 also matches well with Siemens EL34s.
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Re: Tube Matching/Rolling

Postby dimfer » Wed Aug 19, 2009 1:46 pm

With LAMM equipment he has come home and his search for a miracle is over.


I did not realize how musical Lamm Ref 1.2 can be.... until the day I inserted EAT ECC88 tubes.

sorry to disappoint the premium product haters out there, but this product delivers... if you are playing the the audiogame at this level, this tube is definitely worth a try.

I previously used premium Amperex and Siemens Halske E88CC goldpins before I switched to these tubes - the search for a miracle is over.

Lamm Ref 1.2 Hybrid & EAT ECC88 is a good match :rock:
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